Friday, January 18, 2019

Commuter Rail Preparing for Weekend Winter Storm

More than 350 personnel will be deployed to shovel, sand and salt stairs and platforms

Keolis Commuter Services and the MBTA are preparing for the storm that is expected to arrive this weekend with heavy wet snow and cold temperatures from Saturday to Sunday. While forecasts vary, certain areas on commuter rail could see more than a foot of snow.

“We’re closely monitoring the forecast, particularly the rain-snow line, to properly deploy our resources for our passengers,” said David Scorey, Keolis CEO and General Manager. “Our goal is to minimize the storm’s impact on service to ensure passengers who need to travel can use commuter rail as an alternative to driving in these conditions. Passengers who do have to travel this weekend should leave extra time to get to stations, use caution on platforms and when boarding trains, and stay connected for service updates at”

More than 350 personnel will be deployed across commuter rail to shovel, sand and salt passenger areas, as well as to respond to incidents that occur during the storm, such as downed trees. MBTA and Keolis crews will be pre-positioned at key facilities and infrastructure (switches, signals, etc.) to help ensure normal operations. Switch heaters will be activated in key areas to ensure a normal flow of train traffic.

Since the winter of 2015, the MBTA has upgraded track and signal infrastructure, invested in snow-fighting equipment, and stocked up on replacement parts, making more than $101 million in investments in winter resiliency.

Last winter, the Boston area saw seventy inches of snow that included a challenging Nor’easter in January 2018 and four Nor’easters in March 2018 (three of which took place within less than two weeks) with the MBTA’s Storm Desk activated six times. There were no shutdowns or closures in MBTA service with snow-fighting equipment pre-deployed and staffing levels of the Storm Desk increased as needed. Additionally, following recent MBTA and Keolis investments a new Emergency Operations Center is now fully functional at the MBTA Somerville facility. This state-of-the-art command center centralizes incident response and passenger communications, and utilizes custom-built event management technology and real-time tracking of trains, maintenance and infrastructure, such as switch heaters.

In preparation of this winter season, system-wide tree trimming took place along commuter rail and subway right-of-way areas with an expansion of system weather stations and real-time monitoring at critical Commuter Rail interlockings.

Passengers can stay connected with commuter rail by calling customer service at 617-222-3200, following @MBTA_CR on Twitter or signing up for T-Alerts at